College football: Old BYU plays still in West Virginia playbook
Dana Holgorsen never played or coached under legendary BYU football head man LaVell Edwards. Yet Edwards' influence on Holgorsen's offensive philosophy is unmistakable.
"We still to this day have some stuff in our playbook that goes back to the BYU days," said Holgorsen, whose WVU Mountaineers (2-0) face BYU (1-2) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, in Landover, Md.
Holgorsen learned about Edwards' offense from Hal Mumme and Mike Leach. Mumme was head coach and Leach his offensive coordinator for two years of Holgorsen's playing career at Iowa Wesleyan in the early 1990s.
Mumme, who has been hailed as the Godfather of the Air Raid offense, spent time with Edwards and his coaching staff when he was an assistant at West Texas A&M and UTEP in the 1980s. Leach saw Edwards' teams up close as a student at BYU who graduated in 1983.
Record-shattering quarterbacks Jim McMahon and Steve Young powered the BYU offense back then.
"I was young and dumb and just trying to learn the game of football at that time," Holgorsen said Monday on the Big 12 Conference coaches' teleconference. "A lot of the principles in the passing game were things all those great quarterbacks were doing for BYU. We took them, stole them and maintain them to this day."
The Holgorsen-Mumme connection almost never happened, though.
Mumme tried to recruit the wide receiver Holgorsen to stay home and play for Iowa Wesleyan, which had gone winless the year before his arrival. Mumme showed up at Holgorsen's Mount Pleasant (Iowa) High School one day to talk to him. Holgorsen wanted no part of meeting with Mumme, opting to stay in his English class.
"It wasn't because I liked English," Holgorsen said with a chuckle. "At that time, I was tired of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, a town of about 8,000 people. I was ready to go to the big Quad Cities, which was down the road."
Holgorsen spent one frustrating season at St. Ambrose University, in Davenport, Iowa, before realizing he made a mistake.
"I saw what (Mumme) was doing in the passing game, and I was anxious to get back home and play for him," said Holgorsen, who finished his playing career at Iowa Wesleyan.
Holgorsen has his first chance to take on a BYU team on Saturday at the Washington Redskins' FedEx Field. It's an intriguing nonconference matchup between a Big 12 team and a team hoping to join the Big 12.
"They've been pretty adamant about wanting into the league," Holgorsen said. "This game was scheduled 10 years ago, a long time before West Virginia in the Big 12 was even a thought.
"BYU has been pretty adamant about playing anybody, anywhere. Them coming to the East Coast is not unusual. Us playing a neutral site game is not unusual. Us playing in the Baltimore-D.C. area is not unusual. Playing a national team at a neutral site will add to the intrigue of the game."
This article was written by Todd Murray from The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.